Growing up, I ate like a typical child. My staples were Spaghettio’s, Easy Mac, and Ramen noodles (which I still secretly love!). My favorite flavors had no relation to meat loaf, vegetables, and definitely not seafood. As I’ve grown wiser, and my taste buds have matured, I’ve started to enjoy eating things like mushrooms, brussel sprouts…and even sushi! Ok, ok, I must be honest…I was still eating like a 5 yr old when I met Jason, but since then, he has introduced my palette to an entirely new world…the Pacific Northwest to be exact. Here, there is a Starbucks AND a seafood restaurant on every corner, so rather than fighting it…I jumped on the wagon and embraced it.
After getting over the “texture” thing, I’ve actually begun to enjoy meals of lobster, crab, and halibut…to name a few. Not only is seafood delicious, but it can be healthier than your everyday ground beef, so I find myself ordering the salmon over a burger more often than not! But as much as we all love to dine on these delectables from under the sea, the majority of people probably fail to ask if their seafood is “sustainable”.
As many of you probably don’t realize, some fishing methods can be really destructive to our oceans. For example, bottom trawling is a method that drags a giant net along the sea floor, destroying everything in its path including coral and the sea floor habitat that many fish live in. Bottom trawling also catches a lot of bycatch, which is unintended catch that is thrown back overboard dead or dying. To get specific…shrimp trawling can catch up to 9 pounds of other fish, which ends up being thrown overboard, for every pound of shrimp caught!
There are some ways to reduce bycatch. For example, shrimp trawlers legally must have TED’s (Turtle Exclusion Devices) installed on their nets. This is basically a trap door to let turtles escape, but it is suspected that many fishermen during the BP oils spill tied their TED’s shut, causing the turtles to die. It is scary to think that people are consciously destroying our beautiful oceans, but there are people out there, however, that are working to rate, label, and buy seafood that is caught only in the best manner possible.
So now you’re probably thinking, “I’m not the one catching the fish, so how in the world can I help resolve this problem!” The answer is simple…ask! Next time you are picking up a nice piece of salmon at the grocery store, or being treated to your areas finest lobster tail, just asked if the seafood they have is “sustainable”. Any good fishmonger or grocer will always know. As the demand for sustainable seafood grows, fishermen will have no choice but to work in a manner that is safe for our oceans and the creatures living in it.
It’s the little things that go a long way. As cliché as it sounds, if we all do our part…we can help make this world a better place “from sea to shining sea”!